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EH boss Thurley to take 'heritage sabbatical'

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Simon Thurley is to leave English Heritage after the government quango officially splits next year

Thurley, who has headed up the heritage organisation since 2002, is set to exit at the end of 2015 when the organisation separates into two different organisations - one which would continue to use the title of English Heritage and another taking the name of Historic England.

Both organisations have now begun the hunt for new chief executives.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Thurley said: ‘There is a lot to do before I go. However, I will be hoping to take some time off next summer — a sort of heritage sabbatical — to finish my next book, which is about the buildings of the Tudor and Stuart royal court.’

The new charity titled English Heritage will run the National Heritage Collection - which includes world famous landmarks such as Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall - under licence from the newly-named non-departmental public body Historic England.

Meanhwile Historic England’s role will be to offer expert advice to external organisations, championing the wider historic environment and supporting the heritage sector.

Announcing the split Ed Vaizey said: ‘This new model for protecting England’s heritage and promoting its precious sites and buildings gives us the best chance for more than a generation to do both. The funding will address a backlog of repairs and enable more of our heritage to be made accessible to greater numbers of visitors.

‘Though English Heritage’s properties will remain in public ownership, the new body will be able to make the most of commercial and philanthropic opportunities. The body is expected to break even financially in 2022/23.’

Laurie Magnus, chairman of English Heritage said: ‘It was clear from the responses to the government’s consultation on the new model that there is a great deal of support for Historic England and a clear desire that it should continue to champion England’s heritage, providing expert advice, promoting constructive conservation and providing support with research, guidance and grants. No changes are proposed to our current duties and powers in planning and heritage protection.’

Magnus will remain chairman of the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, which will lead the work of Historic England and retain residual responsibility for the National Heritage Collection and for holding the charity to account.


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